What is the best consumer journey?


Do you even know what the best Consumer Journey looks like?

Most clients that I speak with are quite focused upon their consumer journeys. Seeking out any negative aspects that they can identify and removing as many as they can.

Changing their customer service policies to create the smoothest fastest consumer journeys, removing any taste or textural elements that research indicates as unpleasant or less enjoyable. Creating the smoothest and fastest journey from where the consumer was to their best response to the product or service.

And success can be measured in NPSs or other quick customer satisfaction surveys. How did we do today? Please score your experience…

And so we slide into a world of pleasant, bland and totally forgettable experiences.

So what makes a Great Experience?

Stop thinking about your brand for just a second. Think about the best experiences that you have had in your life. You define it, it does not matter what it was; a great holiday, the trip of a lifetime, a day out with a friend, the birth of your children, your wedding day…

Was it all plain sailing? Did it have its lows as well as its highs? Did it require some effort on your part, maybe some compromises?

Part of what makes this such a memorable experience, what makes it really special, is that in order to achieve its peak you had to make some effort, maybe experience some discomfort – even some pain,

The best things that we achieve are always on the other side of fear and discomfort.

Now – depending upon your brand – it may be going too far to imply that you should inflict any pain, but the best experiences, the ones that we remember, truly enjoy and will come back to again and again are not the smooth, easy, bland ones. They are the experiences that catch our attention, that take us through ups and downs, twists and turns and then deliver us to a better place than we started.

The soda where the initial hit of carbonation is perhaps a little too much, too aggressive, but then the smooth sweet flavour feels all the more welcome, relaxing and refreshing. The breakfast bar where the initial bite and chew are a little too hard and unrewarding before it breaks down and begins to melt in the mouth, flooding it with flavour. The coffee that has an initial rough bitterness that goes just beyond your tolerance before receding to the more complex smoother flavour that you love.

A touch of the negative emphasises the positive. It magnifies the good and helps us to notice what we like about the product.

As humans we enjoy contrasts. The rough emphasises the smooth, the bitter or sour emphasise the sweet. We like ice cream with hot apple pie (or hot espresso), we like salt with our caramel and black pepper with our strawberries (if you haven’t tried it, you should).

They elevate the experience, they make it more enjoyable, more memorable.

So, when thinking about your consumer journey, think about what is it that elevates your journey above that of your competition. What makes it different? What makes it stand out? What makes it memorable? And, most importantly, What makes the consumer choose to come back to your journey rather than that of your competition?


Chris Lukehurst is a Consumer Psychologist and a Director at The Marketing Clinic:

Providing Clarity on the Psychological relationships between consumers and brands